Focus Of Group
Is Making Quilts
To Give Veterans
At VA Hospital
BY EMILY HAGENBURGER
Gail Burnett, of the Greene County Quilters, says that while the group has donated more than 90 quilts to the James H. Quillen Veterans Affairs Medical Center in the past two years, the group makes one special quilt per year.
This year's quilt was hand-stitched by member Beverly Yates.
The handmade blue and red patterned quilt is reminiscent of an earlier age when items such as this were made by hand and not by machines.
This is the only quilt the group makes that is sold for a profit instead of donated to the VA hospital.
By selling chances to win the quilt, the group raises funds to buy the necessary materials to keep making quilts to donate to the VA Center, which is located in Johnson City.
The quilters also finance their materials through donations, and through fees from the quilting classes that are offered.
The group is hosted by George and Becky Sydnor at "A Stitch Back in Time," at 1305 Tusculum Blvd., Suite 1.
Donated quilts are made according to the national guidelines for the Quilts of Valor Program.
Quilts of Valor has a mission to "cover all combat service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing quilts" that serve as a "tangible reminder of an American's appreciation and gratitude," according to their website, http://www.qovf.org
The Greene County Quilters decided to "keep it close to home" by making the VA Center their main focus, said Burnett.
However, they have also donated quilts to the Greene County Sheriff's Department, the American Cancer Society, and the Relay for Life.
According to member Donna Alcorn, one reason it "feels so good" to help with the veterans at the VA Center is because she and many of the other women in the group have husbands or sons who were in the military.
Alcorn is in charge of creating quilted bags in which the donated quilts are delivered.
Last year they donated 72 quilts to the VA Center, Burnett said, and so far this year 41 quilts have already been donated.
Burnett delivers the quilts to the hospital herself.
"I know they just love it," Alcorn said.
According to the James H. Quillen VA Medical Center, at any given time up to 4,000 veterans from Greene County are treated at the Center.
Last year, the group's fundraiser raised a little more than $750, according to Burnett: a sum which allowed the purchase of backing and batting for about 60 quilts.
This year, the quilters are hoping to raise more money by advertising, and starting earlier.
For information on how to have a chance to win the quilt, visit A Stitch Back in Time, or call Gail Burnett at 552-7575.
In addition to Burnett, Yates, and Alcorn, the members of the group are Margret Van Pelt, Donna Barnard, Pinky Byrd, Becky Sydnor, Patty Burnham, Cleatis Hofer, Shelley Eastman, and Pat Carpenter.
The Greene County Quilters meet at A Stitch Back in Time every Thursday from 1 to 4 p.m.
For more information or questions, interested persons are asked to call Burnett.